In most countries of the European Union we have of course minimum wages. Let´s compare then the proposal of Barack Obama´s administration to raise the minimum wage to 10.10 $ with the minimum wage levels of the countries in the European Union.
On Statista (a German web portal) one can find a chart titled “Gesetzliche Mindestlöhne pro Stunde in der Europäischen Union (Stand: Oktober 2013)” (In English: legal minimum wages per hour in the European Union).
On the top level in the European Union is Luxembourg offering 11,1 € (Euros) per hour as a minimum wage. The highest minimum wage in the Eurozone is offered in France (9,43 €). On the lowest level in the Eurozone is Portugal (2,92 €). And the lowest level in the European Union is offering Bulgaria (0,95 €).
Some nice info graphic showing the minimum wages in the European Union is offered on a website of the DGB (Confederation of German Trade Unions) titled “Deutschland braucht den Mindestlohn” (in English: Germany needs the minimum wage). The Confederation of German Trade Unions is currently fighting for a minimum wage of 8,50 € in Germany.
Of course one must put those minimum wages in relation with the average wages in those European countries.
On Statista there can also be found a chart titled “Bruttomonatsverdienst (in Euro) je Vollzeiteinheit* in der Europäischen Union 2008” (in English: Gross monthly full time income in the European Union).
In the Eurozone it was the Netherlands that achieved the highest gross monthly income in Europe in 2008: 3.192 € (Euros). The lowest gross monthly income in the Eurozone was earned in 2008 Portugal: 1.663 €. The lowest level in the European Union when it comes to the gross monthly average income was achieved in Bulgaria: 644 €.
Those numbers shouldn´t have changed a lot since then. The economic situation in the European Union and in the Eurozone hasn´t changed too much since 2008 and we didn´t have a considerable inflation in the Eurozone in the last years.
In the Wikipedia article “List of countries by average wage” which offers different charts made by different organizations the average wage in the USA is higher than in Germany.
Taking again a look at the chart titled “Bruttomonatsverdienst (in Euro) je Vollzeiteinheit* in der Europäischen Union 2008” (in English: Gross monthly full time income in Euros in the European Union) that can be found on Statista the monthly average income in the USA is comparable to the average incomes of the central and northern European countries.
This not a very exact calculation anyway, as the different charts in the Wikipedia article “List of countries by average wage” show different average wages in the corresponding countries. And all those countries have different taxation levels and are offering different social services.
But taking a look at the chart offered by the Wikipedia article “Median household income” the median income in the USA is also somewhat higher than in Germany.
The important fact here is that the average wages and median incomes in the USA are more or less on the same level as the average wages and median incomes of the affluent central and northern European states.